President Trump's Immigration Ban Faces a Major Legal Test

Feb 06, 2017

The fate of President Donald Trump's controversial executive order temporarily banning refugees and travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries is up for grabs on Monday, as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will soon decide whether the order should be reinstated.

Bringing the order back would "unleash chaos again," attorneys from the states of Washington and Minnesota, which filed suit against the order, said in a Monday morning filing, according to ABC News. "Defendants now ask this Court to unleash chaos again by staying the district court order. The Court should decline," the states' attorneys said.

The Department of Justice is expected to respond with their own filing defending the order on Monday afternoon.

The court will also weigh briefs from former U.S. officials and dozens of the nation's leading technology firms, which take aim at Trump's order.

Former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Madeleine Albright, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and others filed a brief in favor of blocking the ban, according to the Washington Post. The officials say that though the U.S. faces real threats, those threats are not addressed by the Trump administration's ban on travel from Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Somalia and Libya. Instead, the former officials argue, it “ultimately undermines the national security of the United States rather than making us safer.”

“There is no national security purpose for a total bar on entry for aliens from the seven named countries,” the brief reads. “Since September 11, 2001, not a single terrorist attack in the United States has been perpetrated by aliens from the country named in the Order."

Technology companies including Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft, as well as some non-tech companies, also filed a brief in the 9th Circuit, Reuters reports. The firms said the order represents a "significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability that have governed the immigration system of the United States for more than fifty years." The tech companies, some of whose leaders have come out against the order in statements over the past week, added that "immigrants or their children founded more than 200 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list."

A week of confusion over the order, which at one point blocked legal permanent residents from entering the U.S., ended in a stunning federal court decision on Friday that placed the order on hold. Though federal judge James Robart did not rule on the order's legality late last week, his order cleared the way for the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State to process entrants to the U.S. as they had before the order was put in place on Jan. 27.

The White House took quick action, with attorneys calling for the immediate reinstatement of the order and the President taking to Twitter to mock the judge and blame him for any potential harm that is caused because the order was lifted. Now, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals — one of the most liberal appeals courts in the country — will rule on whether to revoke the judge's restraining order. And it seems no matter what they decide, the president's executive order banning travel could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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